Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says the government will double its efforts after Labor seized back the seat of Stafford in a resounding win.
The Queensland premier has vowed to work harder for the state after his party was savaged in Saturday’s by-election.
Labor candidate Anthony Lynham romped home against the LNP’s Bob Andersen in the northern Brisbane seat of Stafford, with a huge 18.6 per cent swing towards the opposition on Saturday night.
The swing was far more than the 7.1 per cent Labor needed for victory and greater than analysts had predicted.
It was also greater than the 17 per cent swing the government suffered at the Redcliffe by-election in February.
“Today we have sent Campbell Newman a very strong message,” Dr Lynham told jubilant Labor supporters during his victory speech on Saturday night.
“It’s a clear message that our community deserves to be heard.
“A clear message that it’s not OK to cut services and sack workers that we rely on every day.”
Premier Campbell Newman blamed the defeat in part on attacks by the disgruntled former member for Stafford, the LNP’s Chris Davis.
He also said he understood there were people unhappy with the government, which had been forced to make “many unpopular and strong” decisions.
“This evening I say to those people, ‘We’ve heard you, we understand how you feel’, and I pledge this evening to continue to work hard,” Mr Newman told LNP supporters at a party function on Saturday night.
“In fact, we will redouble our efforts to improve this state and to take it forward with a bright future.”
With almost 80 per cent of the vote counted, Dr Lynham has nearly 51 per cent of the primary vote compared with 33 per cent for Dr Andersen, according to the Electoral Commission of Queensland.
On a two-candidate preferred basis, Dr Lynham is well ahead with 61.5 per cent of the vote compared with 38.5 per cent for Dr Andersen.
Greens candidate Anne Boccabella secured almost 12 per cent of the vote, while Sally-Anne Vincent from the Family First Party won four per cent.
Dr Andersen was under no illusions about the swing against his party, but told supporters they should focus on the positives.
“In very short time, we’ve put together a credible campaign and we’ve done so fighting against not just the Labor Party but union third-party campaigns and also the damage that was done by the former member,” he said.
Dr Lynham’s victory means Labor will now have nine seats in parliament. The LNP has 74.
A general election is due by next June.